Blue Jays choose Marco Estrada, not David Price, to start Game 1 of ALCS

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Toronto announced its rotation for the ALCS against the Royals and Marco Estrada will get the Game 1 assignment, followed by David Price in Game 2, Marcus Stroman in Game 3, and R.A. Dickey in Game 4.

Price last pitched Monday, throwing 50 pitches in relief, and hasn’t started a game since October 8. From a rest and workload standpoint he’d almost surely be ready to start Game 1 of the ALCS tomorrow night, but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons continues to shy away from placing trust in the former Cy Young winner who was acquired in a midseason trade to headline the rotation. Price went 18-5 with a league-leading 2.45 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 220 innings this season, including a 2.93 ERA in two starts versus Kansas City, but his career playoff track record is shaky.

Assuming the Blue Jays stick with that planned rotation Estrada, Price, and Stroman would each start twice in a seven-game series, with Stroman lined up for a potential Game 7.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.